New Castle News

Closer Look

May 20, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Laurel senior county’s new dairy princess

NEW CASTLE — The two candidates cross their fingers and the crowd goes silent, awaiting the verdict.

And the 2013-2014 Lawrence County Dairy Princess is — Rhonda Mitcheltree!

On Saturday, Mitcheltree and Amanda Hall (who was named her alternate) competed for the royal title at the Masonic Lodge in New Wilmington. The girls gave speeches on the dairy industry, made creative presentations about different benefits of milk, and had to answer an impromptu question before the judges named Mitcheltree as the winner.

Both girls were highly qualified for the position.

Mitcheltree, who is a daughter of Scott and Marlene Mitcheltree, will be a senior at Laurel High School this fall, where she participates in the marching band and is involved with several branches of the 4H. She has been a Dairy Maid with the Lawrence County Dairy Promotion for seven years. After she graduates, Mitcheltree wants to go to a four year program majoring in ag-business and hopes to one day have her own farm in dairy or beef.

Hall, who is a daughter of Dennis and Joann Hall, will be a senior at Lincoln High School in the fall. There she is a member of the National Honor Society, German Club, March of Dimes Club, Environmental Club, the Marching Band Front Line, and several branches of the 4H. After graduation, Hall plans on going to Penn State University’s main campus to major in pre-vet and dairy science. She hopes to go into large animal practice.

Annually, the Lawrence County Dairy Princess, Dairy Ambassadors, Dairy Maids and Dairy Misses serve as spokeswomen for the local dairy industry. The county Dairy Princess court travels throughout Lawrence County to educate the public on dairy farmers, the benefits of milk and dairy products, and share the milk story with consumers.

Hall and Mitcheltree have different approaches to promoting the dairy industry. In her opening speech, Hall shared that she wished to change the public’s opinion of dairy farmers, while Mitcheltree focused on the importance of the Pennsylvania dairy industry.

Next, the girls donned costumes to give a creative presentation about the health benefits of milk. Hall put on a lab coat and a curly black wig, declaring herself a mad scientist bent on creating a potion that will help her live a healthy and longer life: milk. Mitcheltree used a walker during her skit, sharing that she had just been diagnosed with osteoporosis in her old age because in her younger days, she didn’t consume enough dairy to reap its benefits.

The girls then moved on to the final portion of the pageant, the impromptu question round. Master of Ceremonies J.V. Lamb asked both girls what they felt was the biggest misconception about the dairy industry and how they would deal with that issue.

Hall said she believes the biggest misconception is, “that we treat our animals wrong. I would tell them all the good things that the dairy farmer does, like keeping them (the cows) clean and comfortable during the summer.”

When pitched the same question, Mitcheltree responded, “A lot of people think dairy farmers are cruel to their animals, which is not true. At the promotions, I would try as much as I can to have an animal with me to show them how I actually do treat my animals.”

While the judges deliberated, reigning princess Lauren Slick gave a tearful farewell speech, during which she shared how the position had helped her to gain confidence and to learn a lot about the dairy industry. She also thanked her family and friends for their support.

After Slick passed the crown to Mitcheltree, the court and crowd convened for an ice cream social.

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